UnitedHealthcare and Premier Health announced Thursday that they have signed a three-year agreement to keep Premier in-network for the insurer's 200,000 members in southwest Ohio.
The agreement ensures in-network access to Premier's facilities and physicians for UnitedHealthcare's commercial and Medicare Advantage enrollees effective Jan. 1. Dayton, Ohio-based Premier and Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealthcare did not disclose the agreement's financial terms, but a Premier spokesman said it runs through March 2021.
Mary Boosalis, Premier's president and CEO, wrote in a statement that she looks forward to working with UnitedHealthcare to continue serving the community.
"We are very happy to have found common ground and a way that Premier Health and UnitedHealthcare can work collaboratively to extend quality, patient-centered care in our communities," she said.
The contract came after lengthy negotiations between the insurance company and healthcare provider. UnitedHealthcare's previous contract with Premier's physician network ended in May 2017, and its previous contract with Premier's facilities ended in April 2017, UnitedHealthcare spokesman Tony Marusic said. Since then, the healthcare provider has been out of network for UnitedHealthcare members.
Marusic declined to say what caused the delayed contract renewal, but said negotiations between the companies never stopped during that time.
Such disagreements are becoming increasingly common. A recent seven-week dispute between Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield left thousands of patients with providers who were out-of-network and confused about their coverage. In response, Connecticut lawmakers are trying to develop a way to avoid future contract impasses.
Representatives with Premier and UnitedHealthcare did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.